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Last Updated:
04.06.2012

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since 04.04.2000

Heart Of England Demo.

1st July 2000

God awful weather. It started raining about noon (as the demo was assembling at Longbridge), and finished raining just after the speeches ended!

Despite this, a fair number of bikes collected by the Rover plant at Longbridge, in preparation for a very wet tour of the West Midlands. I haven't heard an official estimate of the attendance yet - some people were guessing between 200 and 500. I think Bod's estimate - "Definitely less than 2000!" - was spot on!

Ok, I haven't got any pictures of the run itself, just the beginning and the end. I haven't long bought my camera (and I'm still paying for it!), and it was caning it down!

Deb and I arrived at Longbridge about noon, and entertained ourselves watching "mindless idiots" - otherwise known as "car-drivers". Quite a few bikes were parked on the tarmac area in the central reservation - this is one of half a dozen places along this short stretch of road where people do U-turns. Over the hour we were waiting, loads of people were pulling into this area, then looking mightily confused, then finally (this took minutes, in some cases!) realising they couldn't get through, reversing out and carrying on. Oh, how we laughed! (OK, so we're easily entertained!)

One bloke became incredibly irrate - tooting his horn and making obscene guestures - and refused to use another turning space. Someone from the run did go over and politely explain what we were doing and that we had police authorisation to be there. He still didn't get it, and was on his cellphone next, calling (we presume) the Old Bill - who had just arrived at the head of the run anyway!

Brief description of the run - WET! It drizzled almost constantly as we progressed from Longbridge to Sandwell.

The run seemed to go off fine. The police and the MAG marshalls did their usual fine job of holding up the traffic - I know it's childish, but I love having a copper stoppping traffic and waving me through red traffic lights! The run seemed to stay together pretty well, and the speed was kept suitably slow - it took about an hour to get from Londbridge to Oldbury.

Plenty of people stopping and waving as we went past. We even disturbed a couple of wedding parties who seemed entertained to see us - except for the couple of people who were trapped on the wrong side of the road, and obvioulsy in a big hurry to get to the service! At least you've got a good excuse - "sorry I was late to the altar, dear, but several hundred hairy bikers and bike cops wouldn't let me cross the road!"

At the end of the run, most people made it to the car park behind the council offices - I heard later from Mr Tilly that this was the wrong place! Mind you, the police bikers did direct us there, so we didn't really have a chance to argue!

A quick walk round to the steps of the council office, to stand in the rain for some speeches. MAG's Phil Neale gave the intro's, and Lord King of Sandwell Council said a few words.

On to the man of the hour - Alan Tilly. Alan has been possibly the key person in organising and writing the Sandwell Strategy for Powered Two Wheelers, which isn't bad for someone who had never ridden a bike until last Friday - this is when Alan took his CBT!

After the reasonable turn-out for the run, it was a bit disappointing when a lot of people skipped the speeches in favour of the pub accross the road! Was this down to ignorance - hadn't they been informed about the speeches? - or couldn't they be bothered? The purpose of the run going to Sandwell Council House was to acknowledge the effort SMBC has made towards helping existing bikers, and encouraging more people to get a bike. Everyone was already soaked, so a bit more rain wouldn't have hurt!

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